May 20 2011 by Kaiya Marjoribanks, Stirling Observer Friday
A TURBINE almost 100 metres high could be earmarked for a spot near Dunblane.
Initial work is being carried out with a view to a potential planning application for the turbine at Inns of Balhaldie.
Wind Energy Direct, via their agent Green Cat Renewables, have asked Stirling Council for a “screening opinion” as to whether the proposed development of a single wind turbine with an overall height of 99.5 metres should be preceded by an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
A screening opinion checks out whether the council wants an EIA and if so what particular potential environmental issues they would like investigated or addressed before a planning application is submitted.
In this case, however, council planners are recommending that the council does not seek the submission of an EIA.
However, they added: “Should a planning application or applications follow, they should be accompanied by sufficient information addressing matters such as ecology, landscape and visual impact, noise, cumulative impact, cultural heritage, aviation, telecommunications, hydrology, shadow flicker, access etc.”
The planners said the proposal falls under the criteria for an EIA as it is more than 15 metres high, but it is not located within a “sensitive area”.
They added: “Since the proposal is for one turbine outwith a sensitive area where the impact of such a proposal will be limited, it is not considered than an EIA is required.
“However, following consultation with Scottish Natural Heritage, it is considered that any application should be accompanied by information in relation to the qualifying interests of the South Tayside Goose Roosts SPA and that an otter survey is undertaken.
“Scottish Natural Heritage commented that the proposal site is two kilometres from Quoigs Meadow ‘Site of Special Scientific Interest’, which is designated for its spring fen feature, but advised the proposal would have no impacts no the designated feature of this site.
“SNH also said the Carsebreck and Rhynd Lochs SSSI is around 5.9km from the proposal site and is also part of the South Tayside Goose Roosts Special Protection Area (SPA) and the qualifying features are non-breeding greylag geese and pink-footed geese.
“Although the proposal site is some distance from the SPA boundary, SNH advise that the fields to the north of Dunblane and Ashfield are regularly used as winter feeding sites by these geese species. For this reason they advise that an appropriate assessment is required.”